Brawn defends handling of Australian GP cancellation
Ross Brawn has defended how F1 management dealt with the farcical situation surrounding the cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite every other major sport in the world either postponing, cancelling, or holding events behind closed doors, F1 pressed ahead with their opening race of the season in Australia, much to the surprise of many, with Lewis Hamilton admitting it was “shocking” the F1 community travelled down under.
Then, after an outbreak of the virus in the McLaren camp which saw the team withdraw from the race altogether, it was assumed the race would quickly be cancelled.
That didn’t happen, with contrasting news reports saying it was going ahead, while others said it was off.
Eventually, half a day later and with fans already congregating at the track, the announcement was made.
"There was consultation with the teams, the medical authorities, the FIA and the promoters here," F1 managing director Ross Brawn told the official F1 website.
"It's not a total autocracy," he continued, "as in we just can't make a decision. We have so many factors to take into account. I think we did a pretty good job of reaching the right conclusion with so many stakeholders involved. We're talking to the FIA, which is in Europe on a Europe timezone, and we had to speak to Jean Todt.
"Chase [Carey], unfortunately, was in the air, flying between Vietnam and here. So it was a pretty stressful period. Considering we dealt with everything in 12 hours, for something that important, was good."
When asked why teams, drivers, and management had even travelled to Australia in the first place, he replied:
"We were very keen to have the race. It's a very positive event. We wanted to kick-start the season. It is a great race with great fans and a wonderful weekend. We have a big impact on the economy here and it has an impact on our economy as well.
"Formula 1 has to function, we have to make it work so we looked at the whole situation and when we decided to go, we looked at the different dynamics. Probably what has surprised everyone is the rapid expansion of this problem.
“The escalation of new cases, certainly in countries like Italy, where it's gone almost vertical. No one could have expected that."
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